GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is resigning from Congress, he announced Friday in a statement. 

Farenthold declared in December that he would not seek re-election in 2018 after reports emerged that he’d used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims. A few of his GOP colleagues urged him to resign over the scandal. Farenthold has repeatedly denied the harassment allegations against him.

“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” he said in the statement.

Farenthold used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit his former communications director, Lauren Greene, had filed in 2014, Politico reported in December. Greene accused Farenthold of telling her he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her, and then claimed she was fired after complaining to Farenthold.

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Politicians, lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
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Politicians, lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Several women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Donna Carson)

Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman testified that her extra-martial affair with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was not always consensual. The accuser claimed Greitens took a nude photo of her to use as blackmail and coerced her into having oral sex.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS)

A former aide of Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., says she was fired after she refused his advances.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, resigned after he was accused of asking former female staffers to be surrogate mothers for his child. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to multiple women.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was accused of using taxpayer money for a sexual harassment settlement with his former communications director, according to Politico. He announced in December that he wouldn't be seeking reelection. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(SAUL LOEB via Getty Images)

California Assemblymember Matt Dababneh was accused of masturbating in front of a woman in 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

In 1992 multiple women came forward against Senator Brock Adams accusing him of sexually harassing, molesting or assaulting them.

(Photo by Gary Payne/Liaison)

The Congressional Office of Compliance reportedly shelled out $100,000 to settle sexual harassment claims against U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressman Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned in 2006 amid reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male former page. 

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., called a young former aide his 'soul mate,' but denied sexually harassing her.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Kentucky, was facing sexual assault accusations and reportedly committed suicide.

(Kentucky Legislative Research Commission via REUTERS)

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Former U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon, resigned from his position in 2011 after accusations of an 'unwanted sexual encounter' from the 18-year-old daughter of a donor.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain dropped out of the race in December 2011 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2016 for attempting to skirt banking regulations in order to conceal hush money payments intended to cover up sex abuse allegations stemming from the time he was a high school wrestling coach at a far west suburban Chicago high school decades ago.

(REUTERS/Frank Polich)

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“I had no idea how to run a congressional office,” the four-term congressman said in December. “As a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional.”

Farenthold said after the reports broke that he would repay the $84,000 to the Treasury Department, but has not made good on that promise. A representative for his office told HuffPost in February that the congressman was waiting to see what changes lawmakers will add to the Congressional Accountability Act.

“He is waiting on the advice of counsel to see what final bill is enacted,” Bob Haueter, Farenthold’s chief of staff, told HuffPost at the time. “Once the final bill is done and the law is changed and is complete and he can see that, he will make a determination of how he proceeds.”

9 PHOTOS
Rep. Blake Farenthold, (R) Texas
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Rep. Blake Farenthold, (R) Texas
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 6: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, participates in a press conference with other Texas Republicans following the House vote on Hurricane Harvey relief on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 6: Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, flanked from left by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, and Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, speaks during a press conference following the House vote on Hurricane Harvey relief on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: (L-R) Blake Farenthold, Kathy Sledge, Darrell Issa attend the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards at The Hamilton on April 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 25: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, uses his smartphone during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on 'The Unconstitutionality of Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration' on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 18: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, takes a picture during a House and Senate Transportation Conference Committee meeting in Rayburn Building to discuss the surface transportation reauthorization legislation, November 18, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 04: Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas., speaks at a news conference with other House republican freshmen to call on the Senate to take up action on the budget passed in the House in April and also house passed bills that they say will spur job growth and reduce the deficit.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03: Blake Farenthold during a meeting with members of the music industry during the Grammy's on the hill lobbying day at Cannon House Office Building on April 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/WireImage for NARAS)
UNITED STATES - MAY 22: Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., center, confers with Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, left, and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the investigation of the IRS's targeting of political groups. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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  • Sara Boboltz contributed to this report. 
  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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